Use of conserved randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fragments and RAPD pattern for characterization of Lactobacillus fermentum in Ghanaian fermented maize dough. (1/278)

The present work describes the use of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) for the characterization of 172 dominant Lactobacillus isolates from present and previous studies of Ghanaian maize fermentation. Heterofermentative lactobacilli dominate the fermentation flora, since approximately 85% of the isolates belong to this group. Cluster analysis of the RAPD profiles obtained showed the presence of two main clusters. Cluster 1 included Lactobacillus fermentum, whereas cluster 2 comprised the remaining Lactobacillus spp. The two distinct clusters emerged at the similarity level of <50%. All isolates in cluster 1 showed similarity in their RAPD profile to the reference strains of L. fermentum included in the study. These isolates, yielding two distinct bands of approximately 695 and 773 bp with the primers used, were divided into four subclusters, indicating that several strains are involved in the fermentation and remain dominant throughout the process. The two distinct RAPD fragments were cloned, sequenced, and used as probes in Southern hybridization experiments. With one exception, Lactobacillus reuteri LMG 13045, the probes hybridized only to fragments of different sizes in EcoRI-digested chromosomal DNA of L. fermentum strains, thus indicating the specificity of the probes and variation within the L. fermentum isolates.  (+info)

Exposure-response relations of alpha-amylase sensitisation in British bakeries and flour mills. (2/278)

OBJECTIVES: To describe the levels of exposure to fungal alpha-amylase in British bakeries and flour mills, and to describe the relation between exposure to alpha-amylase and sensitisation to fungal alpha-amylase. METHODS: 495 personal flour dust samples were taken in seven British bakeries and flour mills and analysed for alpha-amylase with an immunoassay. Workers at the sites were asked to fill out questionnaires on work related symptoms, smoking history, and work history, and they were skin prick tested with common allergens and fungal alpha-amylase to assess sensitisation. RESULTS: Exposure to high concentrations of alpha-amylase occur in a few areas of British bakeries and flour mills, and there can be considerable differences in exposures to alpha-amylase between sites and between exposure groups, and even within similar exposure groups from different sites. Exposure to the highest concentrations of alpha-amylase was found in the dispensing and mixing areas of the bakeries (geometric mean (GM) 39.7 ng/m3). Exposure to alpha-amylase showed only a moderate correlation with concentrations of dust (r = 0.42) and flour aeroallergen (r = 0.46). The results also showed a relation between exposure to alpha-amylase and sensitisation to fungal alpha-amylase (prevalence ratio (PR) for medium exposure 3.9, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.8 to 20.2, PR for high exposure 9.9, 95% CI 2.8 to 34.6) compared with the low exposure category). Atopic subjects had an increased risk of sensitisation, but this was not significant. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that exposure to alpha-amylase is a considerable health risk in British bakeries and flour mills. A small proportion of workers are exposed to alpha-amylase at concentrations that result in high rates of sensitisation. A reduction in exposure to alpha-amylase is likely to reduce this risk.  (+info)

Fish processing work: the impact of two sex dependent exposure profiles on musculoskeletal health. (3/278)

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of work tasks, physical exposure, and psychosocial factors on the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in men and women, in a defined industrial setting. METHODS: 116 male and 206 female fish industry workers were compared with 129 men and 208 women with more varied work. Physical and psychosocial work load as well as musculoskeletal complaints were recorded by a questionnaire. A physical examination was performed and an observation method was used for work evaluation. 196 male and 322 female former fish processing workers received a postal questionnaire. RESULTS: The women workers in the fish industry had worse working conditions than the men for repetitiveness, constrained neck postures, and psychosocial work environment. They also had higher prevalences of complaints of the neck and shoulder (prevalence odds ratio (POR) 1.9; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.1 to 3.2), neck and shoulder and elbow and hand complaints (POR 2.9; 95% CI 1.8 to 4.7 and POR 2.8; 95% CI 1.6 to 4.7, respectively). The women more often than the men left the industry because of neck and upper limb complaints. Also, women in other work had a higher prevalence of complaints of the neck and shoulder (POR 2.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 5.1) than the men. The men in the fish processing industry had a higher prevalence of complaints of the neck and shoulder than the men in other work (POR 3.6; 95% CI 1.6 to 8.0). This difference was not shown up by the questionnaire. CONCLUSIONS: Despite superficially similar work, there were clear sex differences in physical exposure and psychosocial work environment. Work in the fish processing industry was associated with a high risk of neck and upper limb disorders in women, which was probably mainly due to their extremely repetitive work tasks; the corresponding men had less repetitive work and less disorders. Also, a healthy worker effect on neck and upper limb disorders was found. The advantage of a physical examination compared with a questionnaire is clearly shown.  (+info)

Occupational IgE sensitisation to phytase, a phosphatase derived from Aspergillus niger. (4/278)

OBJECTIVE: Phytase is a phosphatase derived from Aspergillus niger that enhances phosphate bioavailability in the gut, and therefore has been increasingly used as an animal feed additive since the early 1990s. The aim of this study was to assess whether work related respiratory symptoms among workers in a so called premix factory producing animal feed additives, could be due to type I (mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) allergic sensitisation to phytase. METHODS: Preparations of specific IgE against phytase as used in the factory were assessed by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in serum samples of 11 exposed workers who regularly handled the enzyme, in 11 office and laboratory workers of the same plant (non-exposed internal controls), and in 19 laboratory animal workers as external controls. The factory workers also completed a questionnaire on common and work related respiratory symptoms. RESULTS: Depending on the cut off level in the EIA for IgE, and the preparation used as coated allergen, antiphytase sensitisation was found in one to four of the 19 external controls, in one to five of the 11 internal controls, and in four to 10 of the 11 exposed workers. Strongest IgE reactions were found in four exposed workers who reported work related respiratory symptoms, particularly wheezing, and in one internal control who possibly had become sensitised because the structure of the factory building did not preclude airborne exposure in the offices and corridors of the plant. Experiments with inhibition EIA for IgE showed that (a) phytase of another commercial source was only partially cross reactive with phytase as used in the premix factory, and (b) phytase used as an animal feed additive did not cross react with common mould extracts, except for extracts from the species of origin, Aspergillus niger. The amount of IgE binding phytase in Aspergillus niger was estimated to be between 0.1% and 1% of the extractable mould proteins. CONCLUSIONS: Phytase is a potentially important new occupational allergen causing specific IgE immune responses among exposed workers. Such IgE sensitisation could probably be the cause of work related asthmatic and other respiratory symptoms if no effective measures are taken to prevent airborne occupational exposure at sites where phytase is handled, particularly during addition of enzyme preparations to animal feed.  (+info)

Amplified fragment length polymorphism fingerprinting of Pseudomonas strains from a poultry processing plant. (5/278)

Molecular typing has been used previously to identify and trace dissemination of pathogenic and spoilage bacteria associated with food processing. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) is a novel DNA fingerprinting technique which is considered highly reproducible and has high discriminatory power. This technique was used to fingerprint 88 Pseudomonas fluorescens and Pseudomonas putida strains that were previously isolated from plate counts of carcasses at six processing stages and various equipment surfaces and environmental sources of a poultry abattoir. Clustering of the AFLP patterns revealed a high level of diversity among the strains. Six clusters (clusters I through VI) were delineated at an arbitrary Dice coefficient level of 0.65; clusters III (31 strains) and IV (28 strains) were the largest clusters. More than one-half (52.3%) of the strains obtained from carcass samples, which may have represented the resident carcass population, grouped together in cluster III. By contrast, 43.2% of the strains from most of the equipment surfaces and environmental sources grouped together in cluster IV. In most cases, the clusters in which carcass strains from processing stages grouped corresponded to the clusters in which strains from the associated equipment surfaces and/or environmental sources were found. This provided evidence that there was cross-contamination between carcasses and the abattoir environment at the DNA level. The AFLP data also showed that strains were being disseminated from the beginning to the end of the poultry processing operation, since many strains associated with carcasses at the packaging stage were members of the same clusters as strains obtained from carcasses after the defeathering stage.  (+info)

Cryptosporidium parvum in oysters from commercial harvesting sites in the Chesapeake Bay. (6/278)

Oocysts of Cryptosporidium parvum, a zoonotic waterborne pathogen, can be removed by bivalve molluscs from contaminated water and retained on gills and in hemolymph. We identified oocysts of C. parvum in oysters from seven sites in the Chesapeake Bay area. These findings document the presence of C. parvum infectious for humans in oysters intended for human consumption.  (+info)

Respiratory diseases among agricultural industry workers in India: a cross-sectional epidemiological study. (7/278)

Epidemiological survey for respiratory diseases among agricultural industry workers, such as bakeries, poultry farms, granaries and a sugar refinery was carried out using a medical questionnaire on various respiratory symptoms such as cough, breathlessness, rhinitis. The questionnaire was filled up by two doctoral students during personal visits to these work environments. The survey revealed that 40-59% of workers in different occupational work environments suffered from one or more respiratory ailments. As much as 36-40% of the workers reported work-related symptoms which is close to similar data from Western countries. A higher incidence of respiratory disorders was recorded in workers with longer duration of employment. Older workers suffered more than the young ones. Family history of atopy was found to have least effect on the incidence of cough, breathlessness and rhinitis in the workers. Smoking was found to have definite impact on the incidence of cough and breathlessness  (+info)

The dietary guideline for sodium: should we shake it up? No. (8/278)

The current US dietary guideline for sodium is a limit of 2.4 g/d or 6 g NaCl/d. This amount of sodium is far in excess of any physiologic need and is likely an essential though not by itself sufficient primary cause of hypertension as well as a contributor to many other cardiovascular and renal abnormalities. The evidence incriminating the current excessive consumption of sodium derives from epidemiologic, experimental, and interventional data, most of which support a threshold of approximately 100 mmol/d for the harmful effects of sodium to be expressed. Although the current recommendation may not be low enough to go below that threshold, it is an appropriate and attainable goal for now.  (+info)